HARRISBURG – Nearly a month of finger-pointing and attack ads by her three opponents in Pennsylvania’s Democratic gubernatorial race is providing Katie McGinty an opening for her end-game strategy: accentuating the positive.
“Voters don’t like politics as usual. I think voters don’t like gridlock,” McGinty said Tuesday in a telephone interview between campaign appearances in Western Pennsylvania. “Voters want to see someone who’s about finding a solution … getting it done and working hard.”
Trailing in fundraising and independent polling, McGinty expanded her TV advertising into the expensive Philadelphia media market for the first time Monday. She said her campaign will stay on the air in that heavily Democratic region through the May 20 primary.
“I think we’re hitting it at just the right time,” when voters are paying attention, said McGinty, 50, a former state environmental protection secretary and former environmental adviser to the Clinton White House who’s endorsed by former Vice President Al Gore.
Most of the media attention on the race has focused on Tom Wolf, the York businessman whose largely self-financed TV campaign helped establish him as the front-runner early on.
In recent weeks, the campaign was dominated by attacks on Wolf by the other two candidates – state Treasurer Rob McCord and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz – while McGinty stayed out of the fray.
Through the end of March, Wolf raised $14 million, while Schwartz pulled in $8 million and McCord had $7 million. McGinty raised $3.5 million, although she said Tuesday that she raised an additional $150,000 to $175,000 through the end of April.
McGinty “is trying to position herself as the acceptable alternative,” said G. Terry Madonna, a professor and pollster at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. “She does not have the resources to do much else.”
The ad she began airing Monday is called “Problem Solver,” a 30-second spot that focuses on her working-class roots and her experience in the federal and state governments.
In an interview, McGinty said she believes she connects with voters on issues that matter the most, including quality schools, safe neighborhoods and affordable health care.
“Right up to the closing days of this race, I am talking about the issues and sharing with the voters new ideas and new approaches,” she said.